Join Me in Handbag Heaven

Did you go crazy when Chloe released the “Paddington” or Fendi launched the “Baguette”. What about the “Lady Dior”? Do you covet the Chanel “2.55”, or is your ultimate dream the Hermes “Kelly”?

If you just finished reading that, and have no idea what I am on about, then you are not bag mad!

To some the humble handbag is more than just a receptacle to hold half ones life, it is THE number one fashion accessory.

I know I fell in love with the Gucci “1970” this year – gorgeous leather in a choice of colours, chain strap and gold tipped hardware. My choice is absinthe green.

In a world where fashionistas strive for sartorial perfection, the handbag is an easy foray into the world of designer goods.

The Grace 'Kelly' handbag, a classic for all seasons

You may not be able to afford that Chanel suit at prices in the high thousands, but you could save for a little piece of handbag heaven that will be with you forever.

The designer handbag is a classic and will never be out of fashion. I would suggest not to rush into this purchase, take your time.

Think about your needs, when will you be taking it out, how much do you need to fit in it?

Like choosing a husband, if done wisely, it will be quality and you will be able to stick with it for life.

The Tiffany Wicker - wonderful - quickly, bring on summer time!

Sure you could have a dalliance with an occasional high street satchel, but quite often like that fling with any hottie, within a very short time you’re completely over it.

Sure, it was fun while it lasted, but definitely not an investment for the future!

If cared for correctly, any great bag should keep it’s lustre.

Gucci Shoulder Bag 1970

Good quality bags should come in their own soft cloth dust protector. Always store in this when not in use.

As I mentioned in a previous FE (see Leather Luxe article), if the bag is damp make sure it is dry before storing so that no mould can develop.

Always check that it is empty. You would hate to find a nasty surprise there a few months later when you next use it, unless it’s money!

As I said of the shoe last week, we love bags no matter what size we are, it always fits and can be an expression of who we are.

Everyone's favourite Princess Di, with her fabulouos Dior bag that she took everywhere

On holidays a few years ago, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a camel, leather Lady Dior (as well as a pair of suede loafers).

I was in total handbag heaven and I think that my husband (a keeper like the bag) thought I had finally lost the plot.

All butter soft lambskin and gorgeous Dior hardwear, she is a winner in my wardrobe.

Wherever I take her, she is the star of the show, not in an ostentatious way. Classic style always shines through, and it is amazing what she can hold. I don’t overload her, but she is deceptively roomy!

I am in good company, everyone’s fairytale Princess Diana had one too and she took it away with her on many fabulous jaunts.

Mary Frances Handbag

If only handbags could talk!

A great addition to your practical side is the handbag organiser. Usually made of  thick clear plastic, these are designed for you to place all the usual bag items in.

Then it is just a matter of  exchanging it from one bag to another.  Easy! It also stops your bag from becoming a Tardis of tissues and small change!

An important thing to remember when buying a bag is weight. If it is heavy when empty, imagine what it would be like when filled with the contents of your daily life.

Gucci Shoulder Bag 1970

How will your shoulders and back hold up?

Unless it is a classic YSL, Dior or the perhaps not as well-known, but definitely delicious Rodo Firenze black satin evening bag, like the vintage one my mother-in-law gave me recently.

She purchased hers eons ago in London (she wants to forget how many years) and it still looks brand new. It has been just the ticket for me on jazzy nights out on the town when something unobtrusive is called for, working well just as it did for her 30 years ago!

Rodo Firenze

She also has a few great bags to die for, including a red evening number by the talented Mary Frances from San Francisco, whose avante-garde embroidered, beaded and appliqued day and evening bags are often seen on the arms of celebrities such as Oprah, Kate Hudson and sex-in-the-city girl herself, Jennifer Aniston.

They reveal the designer’s passion for life and colorful personality. Considered by many to be more works of art, than fashion items, people today also collect them as investment pieces.

The uniqueness of their design ensures that they turn heads wherever you go.

The four bags I would suggest that simply every girl needs in her closet are;

1: The practical leather day bag- medium sized to fit wallet, keys, phone, maybe an iPad or laptop. Also tissues and a small make up case.

Chloe's Paddington Bags

Fendi Baguette

2: The small day bag- great for weekend outings such as brunch or lunch and casual dinner dates.

Stylish and on trend is the way to go. This is a great way to update a classic look.

3: The satchel- a fab style for casual outings e.g. picnics, the beach or the park with kids. In a canvas style fabric it is a good and honest choice.

4: The evening bag- usually made from fabric, like satin. I like to use one with a chain strap.

It is much easier to juggle champagne, canapés and a napkin without having to worry about your purse.

Vintage Glomesh

Tiffany's all new "Holly" Clutch

Leave the clutch for a sit down dinner. Tiffany & Co have just released a gorgeous range of satin clutches, with more than a nod to old Hollywood style glamour, and their sweet new wicker baskets simply scream to be taken on a holiday to the Riviera!

Metallics are going to be huge this season and they are very in keeping with the art deco influence we are seeing everywhere at the moment.

I remember a fabulous ad campaign in the ’70’s for  Glomesh featuring well known Aussie celebs of the decade, such as Jackie Weaver, Renee Geyer and Jenny Kee.

The tag line “You can tell a lot about her from whats inside her Glomesh bag”, showed the star with the contents of their bag spilling out. As a little girl, I was fascinated. It all seemed so grown up and so sophisticated.

I would love to see a modern version of this ad with say Helen Mirren, Elle MacPherson, Alexa Chung and of course Kate Moss. Would be interesting!

What’s inside your Glomesh?

CiaoJo Bayley, Fashion Editor, The Culture Concept Circle 2012

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